Zhirovichi, Belarus, October 27, 2020
On Sunday, October 25, a host of hierarchs of the Belarusian Orthodox Church celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Dormition Cathedral of Zhirovichi Monastery as part of the celebrations dedicated to the 550th anniversary of the miraculous finding of the Zhirovichi Icon of the Mother of God and the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Zhirovichi Monastery.
“For 500 years, the Holy Dormition-Zhirovichi Monastery has been a stronghold of Orthodoxy in the Belarusian lands. And it all started with the appearance of a small wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, which today is among the hundreds of most revered shrines of the Orthodox world,” reads the monastery website.
To mark these anniversaries, the Belarusian Church originally planned to hold a 650-mile, month-long procession to the holy monastery, with festive services to be held at the monastery on May 19 and 20. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Church has had to postpone these festivities. Last August, Met. Pavel consecrated a holy spring at the Zhirovichi Monastery as part of the preparations for the celebrations.
The service was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk together with the monastery abbot His Eminence Archbishop Guriy of Novogrudok, and 11 other hierarchs of the Belarusian Church, the monastery reports.
The administration, teachers, staff, and students of the Minsk Theological Seminary also took part in the festive events. The seminary men’s choir sang the Divine Liturgy, during which prayers were offered for the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Belarusian people.
After the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and congregation made their way outside, where the hierarchs celebrated the rite of the consecration of the bell tower, which was restored in preparation for the anniversary celebrations.
After the consecration, Met. Benjamin and Abp. Guriy opened a new museum dedicated to the history of the monastery.
At the end of the festive events, Abp. Guriy, the monastery abbot, addressed the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Belarusian Church who came to honor their beloved monastery and icon with words of gratitude. Then Met. Benjamin offered an archpastoral word and blessing to all those present.
Read about the miraculous appearance of the icon and the foundation of the monastery here.